Friday, December 1, 2023

George Okoth: From working at KQ to starting my own insurance business

George Okoth is the General Manager and Operations In-charge at Fix IT Insurance Agency, a Kenyan insurance business providing all-round insurance services.

I was in employment before I ventured out and started my own business. I worked in the aviation sector at Kenya Airways for 12 years. I started the business in the year 2016, coming from an aviation background and a large market from which I could pool business from, with a start-up capital of Sh. 500,000.

This business acts as intermediaries or the link between our clients and Insurance Companies. We basically ensure that our clients’ needs and insurable interests are well taken care of and placed under companies where we are sure there is stability and capability to indemnify  (restore to original position) when the risk covered happens.

We help our clients’ articulate their current and future insurance needs and negotiate policy terms and costs with insurance providers to get the best deals in the market for our clients.

It took around 6 months to break even due to aggressive marketing and partnerships that paid off quickly. We came into a market where some dishonesty had led to low trust from clients. We had to confront the negative perception about insurance that what is promised when clients sign up is never what is delivered when coverage is required.

We also realized that there was significant workflow inefficiencies from some companies, and policy cancellations that were due to downsizing companies in the sector.

I once received a huge payout and invested all the money into a totally new line of business without much knowledge. I leased a one acre piece of land and opened up a fish only restaurant in Kitengela, not knowing how to differentiate between fish from the lake and one from the pond as many loved the lakeside fish.

We were building at the same time and hoped the proceeds from the business would help in sustaining the building project. This didn’t happen and we closed shop a few months later. All that was invested was lost.

One of my biggest business milestones has been getting into a partnership with a local Financial Institution as their sole provider for Insurance services. This partnership was initiated by an acquaintance who referred us and went on to connect us together. I saw the opportunity and made a proposal that was accepted.

This partnership has been a testament on how powerful the people around you can impact on your business through connections, referrals, and reviews.

I invest a lot in the Money Market Fund. This is a saving method that also acts as an investment vehicle for people who are averse to risks. With this method, my money grows on a daily basis.

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This I find better and assuring compared to the previous investments I had done and lost capital plus security which in this case is guaranteed.

There is a lot of potential out here in the world of business. It is also limitless what one can achieve that would be nearly impossible under employment.

However, I have learned that you must be patient enough to trust the process. It’s possible to build wealth through honest hard work and this takes time, consistency, and patience.

From my networks of mentors, I have learned that social capital is a critical component of a growing business. This will take you very far if well managed. It’s also a great way to build a stable, returning client base.

I have also learned that money matters requires soundness, soberness and careful planning, spending what I have and not what I don’t have.  It is very important during the bumper harvest, to spare some for tomorrow.

A version of this profile feature on George Okoth from Fix IT Insurance was also published in the Saturday Magazine. The Saturday Magazine is a publication of the Nation Media Group.

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